You might think that business and philanthropy are as different as milk and chili, but, like the aforementioned foodstuffs, they have a unique and complementary relationship. Business and charity may have different motivations, but they both have the same aims – to keep costs low and efficiency high, while maximising profit. Not only are philanthropic endeavours morally responsible and rewarding, taking a hands-on approach to philanthropy can teach you a lot about leadership and running a business – and it reflects wonderfully on your brand.
At Tej Kohli, we’ve always recognized the mutually rewarding relationship between business and charity, which is why our founder, Mr Tej Kohli himself, has been so widely involved in philanthropy – from Tej Kohli Cornea Institute to Tej Kohli Ventures to Kohli Zynergy’s solar fundraising programme, taking an interest in the wellbeing of our youth and our community has been of fundamental importance to our business model. We believe that by giving back, you and your business will grow – so here’s why you should get your business involved in philanthropy, and how doing so will help you.
We’re living in the age of the conscientious consumer – companies must be more than just a business, they need to be a brand, with a fully-formed identity. And part of that involves projecting a caring image – people don’t want to hand over their cash to cold, selfish corporations. A May 2013 study by Cone Communications and Echo Research found that 82% of Americans consider corporate social responsibility when choosing which products to buy and where to source their service providers. By taking a philanthropic approach to business, you are showing consumers that you’re trustworthy, responsible and are giving something back – and that’s the kind of company which people want to use.
As well as doing good in the world, philanthropy makes for great press – especially if you’re doing something hands-on for your own community. If you run a restaurant or bar, consider throwing a monthly charity event on a typically slow night, such as Tuesdays. Donate tips or a percentage of your profits to local organisations – it’s a great way to pack out your establishment on a typically quiet night, get people talking about your business and establish yourself as a center of the community. Or if you run an office-based business, why not consider an in-house philanthropy programme, such as sponsoring a child for each employee? It’s a fantastic way to encourage moral responsibility and raise moral in your employees. Which brings us to…
A happy workforce is a productive workforce, and an employee that is proud of the company they work for is a loyal employee. Involving your company and employees in charity fosters a sense of community, creates loyalty towards your business and improves team bonding and morale. And…
Not just for you, but for your workforce as well. Perhaps the strongest practical argument for getting involved in philanthropy is its ability to teach you new skills, while providing invaluable experience. You might think the only way to learn is through your existing business, but in the words of CECP chairman Doug Conant “philanthropy can also help companies reduce business risk, open up new markets, engage employees, build the brand, reduce costs, advance technology, and deliver competitive returns.” In other words, philanthropy can act as a kind of think-tank for new business strategies, enriching your own business in the process.
So don’t just think of charity as giving away – it’s a mutually beneficial opportunity for growth, insight, and enrichment.